Cynthia Erivo delivers a poignant speech on her queerness: ‘This is a beautiful part of who I am’

Cynthia Erivo has delivered a poignant speech on her queer identity at a benefit event, telling attendees that her queerness “is a beautiful part of who I am”.

The Wicked star — who came out as bisexual in 2022 — spoke to the 900-person audience on 18 May for the Los Angeles LGBT Center Gala.

She said: “It is a privilege to be on this stage tonight because for so long, I lived in deep admiration of anyone who could fully embody their true authentic self, wear their queerness like a feather boa, and proudly state this is a beautiful part of who I am.

Jada Pinkett Smith presented Erivo with the Rand Schrader Award. (Araya Doheny/Getty Images)

“I used to say that it felt like I was looking at my own community from inside a glass box. There you all were, vibrant and beautiful, and falling in love, and I had my nose pressed up against the glass, looking out at all of you, separate and apart. It took time for me to outgrow my box,” the Tony Award winner said.

“But time is a gift that gives us space to see ourselves clearly enough to know that denying a part of oneself is a disservice to the whole. But now the glass is shattered. And there is no box in sight, and I have walked out into the wide open spaces into the arms of people and it feels like home.”

Jada Pinkett-Smith presented Erivo with the Rand Scrader Award for achievements in entertainment and advocacy. Erivo’s partner, the out producer Lena Waithe, was also there in support. 


Wicked star and #queer icon @Cynthia Erivo delivered an incredibly powerful speech at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Annual Gala last night (Saturday May 18), opening up about her journey to self-acceptance and the power of ‘otherness’. #cynthiaerivo #wicked #elphaba #queertiktok #losangeles #lgbtq

♬ The Champion – Lux-Inspira

The performer also addressed her upcoming performance in the movie adaptation of the musical Wicked, in which she stars with Ariana Grande. “As I stand here in front of you: Black, bald-headed, pierced, and queer, I can say I know a thing or two about being the other. 

“Elphaba’s story is…about how a colourful, powerful, magical woman — despite being disparaged, demonized, and discriminated against — becomes a hero. Wicked is a reclamation and a reimagining of the labels used against her. It is the proclamation of her right to exist in all her power. If that sounds familiar to you colourful, magical people in this room — it should.”

Wicked: Part One hits theatres on 27 November 2024.

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